OCTOBER 15, 2001
We are writing with some good news and an invitation to attend a Festival of Creative Alternatives to War which will help you overcome some serious problems with the facility known as "Defence" Research Establishment Ottawa (DREO).
First, the good news.
On Friday, November 9, nonviolent peacemakers from across Ontario, Quebec, and some parts of the intergalactic network of planets which orbit the sun (don't worry, they're mainly Venus-ians) will be gathering at the entrance to DREO at 3701 Carling Ave., in Nepean. We plan to begin the first steps in a process of transforming the war research facility and the neighbouring electronic warfare centre into a Civil Society Research Institute.
For too long, DREO has done nothing but contribute to the very problems which plague society so deeply: poverty, war, and environmental destruction. By draining away precious social funding so that institutes such as DREO can conduct research that will aid in Star Wars and space warfare, Canada violates both international and domestic laws which require us to care for all members of society, not to bomb them.
Our specific disagreement with DREO centres around your mandate and your goals. As the host site of Canada's Electronic Warfare Centre and as a facility which does contract work for the Bush-administration led Star Wars, you have asked, in a recent annual report, "Will technology allow us to fit 70 tons of lethality into a 20 ton package?" This is extremely dangerous thinking, and under Canada's criminal code would constitute conspiracy to commit mass murder.
The standard dictionary definition of "lethal" is deadly, or causing death. 70 tons of lethality is a lot of death. Upon consulting with our friends from Venus, we were told that 70 tons of libidinousness in a 20 ton package would be far safer and a lot more fun. We hope you might agree.
Unfortunately, DREO prides itself as a centre of "exploiting the electromagnetic spectrum" for military purposes and boasts a diverse range of warfighting technologies, including "Electronic Warfare, Information Warfare, Space Systems and Technologies for Defence[sic] Applications, Detection and Identification of NBC [nuclear, biological, chemical] Agents."
We wonder why you do not wish to instead exploit the capacity of the human brain to uncover ingenious solutions to hunger, homelessness, and the economic disparities and consequent hatreds which divide us.
While you might claim that DREO is only a bit player in the space warfare scene, a January, 2001, Ottawa Citizen article reported that DREO is involved in a Star Wars research program called the Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector. "This project is a key contributor to the collaborative work with the (U.S.) Ballistic Missile Defence Organization [the key U.S. government branch pursuing NMD]," read military research reports obtained by the Citizen. The Canadian QWIP system has "significant implications for future exploitation to support U.S. Space-based Infrared Surveillance Systems, surveillance from space and missile defence applications."
Meantime, we are concerned as well about your relationship to the "Defence" Research and Development Canada Technology Investment Strategy of 2000, which clearly states "Space soon will be the fourth medium of warfare, it will not only bind all war fighting forces together but will also become strategically critical to the survival of warfighters...For future coalition warfare, space superiority will be fundamental."
The annual report of your parent group, "Defence" Research and Development Canada, notes that one outcome of the Canadian Defence Industrial Research program has been the development of products useful for, among other things, the Star Wars "Exo-Atmosphere Kill Vehicle." Related technology being developed in Canada, including space-based radar and use of Canada's RADARSAT-2 satellite to produce "a ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability" will "provide an improved operational picture to the war fighter." The report notes without any sense of irony that "there is a high level of US interest in the Space-Based Radar GMTI Project," as the employment of such sensor technology is key to any space warfare capacity.
As hundreds of thousands of Canadians face another night on the cold streets of their cities because we spend almost 800% more on the military and armed enforcement of injustice than we do on affordable housing, we feel DREO is a very appropriate place to begin transforming our economy and our country.
You see, if you stop coming up with newer and deadlier forms of warfare, it will make it more difficult to conduct that warfare. And if folks across the globe take up similar projects of nonviolent transformation, we will finally make it impossible for wars to be waged.
Perhaps you have been too long separated from the results of your work. Because of this capacity to separate your work on warfare from the victims of war and the victims of a war economy, we extend a very sincere invitation to you to join us on the front grounds of DREO, near Carling Avenue, on the morning of the 9th of November. At that time, we can take you on a guided tour of some of the alternatives to war, as well as the symbols of the victims of war.
We would also like to inform you that citizens inspectors, trained in nonviolence and with a good understanding of international, humanitarian, and moral law, will be entering the DREO facilities the morning of the 9th to conduct an inspection of the facilities and to present scientists working within with a pledge of conscience not to participate any longer in research and development of warfare.
These inspectors are well-trained and have attempted to conduct similar inspections at War Dept. HQ in Ottawa, Fort York Armoury in Toronto, Diemaco Weapons Manufacturing in Kitchener, and the Hamilton International War Show. Because DREO is funded by the public purse, these inspectors have a right to enter and ensure that any violations of international and domestic law that result from your warfare research and development are noted and corrected.
This action is undertaken on behalf of the great majority of the world's population, who are victims of militarism's one-two punch: they are starved to death to pay for these weapons of war, and then they are targeted with them.
Recent events only confirm that tragedy upon tragedy results from a refusal to break the cycle of violence.
We look forward to meeting with you, engaging in dialogue, and working together to transform DREO from a place of war to a place of real social justice, real peace, real hope.
Homes not Bombs
P.S. The large grassy area at DREO will be used as a landing pad for visitors from Venus. These Venus-ians, who have begun to find ways of diverting war funding into social spending, are finding life to be quite wonderful, and have promised to help us with our terrestrial transformation. Because the spacecraft is invisible to those who have not pledged themselves against war, we will have air traffic assistants on hand to assist in the landing and make sure no one from DREO is in harm's way.
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